|Manchester United may have won the UK premiership last season, but some of the fizz has gone out of the most heavily marketed football club in the world when it sold star player/pin-up David Beckham to Real Madrid. Worse than that, they now to compete with a domestic rival with deeper pockets: Chelsea, whose new owner can spend £37 million on three players like it was loose change. |
As they have put the Man Utd brand on everything but roller skates, a new money spinner is required: Sep forward MGM Mirage, the world's largest gaming group. The two companies have held in-depth discussions towards a Man Utd-themed casino – provided that the UK’s forthcoming UK gaming reforms go off without a hitch.
The reforms will liberalise the casino industry in the UK. Operators will be allowed to serve more customers and install large numbers of slot machines.
Neither MGM Mirage nor Man Utd has commented on the talks, but it is known that MGM Mirage is on the lookout for potential UK partners and deals. It is also keen on overseas expansion due to higher gaming in the US.
Las Vegas rivals Harrah's Entertainment recently agreed a joint venture with Gala, the UK's largest bingo operator, to open resort casinos. And Isle of Capri, owner of riverboat casinos in Mississippi, is to build its first UK casino in Coventry, along with building a new stadium for Coventry City football club.
Man Utd is currently touring the US, where it estimates the club has four million fans. Whether all those fans would actually go to games in the notoriously soccer-apathetic US remains to be seen. But some (mainly supporters of other teams) would argue, the same could be said for Man Utd’s UK fanbase.